State waives Oxford portion of intersection costs

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CONCERNS — The map shows some of the proposed changes on Route 26 by the Oxford Casino. Concern by adjacent Crestholm Farms may modify some of the current proposal.

OXFORD — The town has received a waiver from the state for its $60,000 portion of the $180,000 Oxford Casino intersection improvements project.

Town Manager Butch Asselin reported to the Board of Selectmen at its Aug. 2 meeting that he has received a letter from Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt granting the waiver of the town’s portion for the improvements to the intersection at the entrance to the Oxford Casino on Route 26.

The town’s share was one third of the total cost of the project that is being split with the state and the Oxford Casino to redesign the intersection at the entrance to the Oxford Casino where two Rhode Island businessmen were struck and killed by a motorist while crossing the street back to the Hampton Inn on foot in July 2017.

The intersection was also the site of a second serious accident that occurred later in the summer involving a motorist and an Oxford Casino shuttle crossing to the Hampton Inn.

Asselin and Selectman Ed Knightly met with Bernhardt, Stephen Landry, state traffic engineer, and Dale Doughty from the DOT Bureau of Maintenance and Operations met on July 6 to discuss the Casino intersection project and other road projects in Oxford.

That meeting was followed up with a letter from Asselin detailing why the town’s portion of the project should be waived.

The intersection project originally hinged on the three-way financial agreement between the state, Oxford Casino and the Town of Oxford. In June, Annual Town Meeting voters agreed to put aside $50,000 from the Capital Improvement Account toward the project costs.

Officials told voters at the time, they hoped to get a waiver and save that money for other in town projects.

Originally the project cost was estimated to be about $400,000 to $500,000 (with a three-way split) but that cost was reduced to about $180,000 (or $60,000 each) when the state determined it could do the work as part of a planned overlay project on Route 26.

The project is expected to go out to bid shortly.

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